University Secretariat and Legal Counsel

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Academic Integrity Procedures - Requirements of Faculties & Schools

Approved by Senate October 23, 2008
Revised October 20, 2010; Section 4.4 Amended October 24, 2011; Section 3.5 Amended March 21, 2017; Offences Section Amended October 29, 2019

 


Table of Contents

  1. Preamble
  2. Terminology
  3. Senate Academic Integrity Policy Statement
  4. Requirements of Faculties/Schools
  5. Procedural Guidelines
  6. Handling Departures from Academic Integrity
  7. Academic-Integrity Procedures with Respect to Cross-Faculty Jurisdiction

Preamble

The decentralized administrative structure of the University presents a significant challenge in attempting to develop a uniform policy that can be applied to all Faculties and Schools. Acknowledging that there are certain issues which may be Faculty-specific and may be addressed through individual Faculty regulations and procedures, the Senate Committee on Academic Procedures (SCAP) has nonetheless determined that some common standards must be maintained among academic units to ensure that all students involved in an academic integrity concern receive equitable treatment. Therefore, Faculties and Schools are required to develop their own procedures for handling academic integrity concerns. At the same time, standards must be maintained among academic units to ensure that all students involved in an academic integrity concern receive equitable treatment.

This document outlines certain procedural requirements of Faculties and Schools, including the essential requirements of any investigation into an academic integrity concern, while also providing guidance regarding jurisdiction, offences, and sanctions. This policy supports units in developing procedures that can be adapted to their specific administrative structures while, at the same time, resembling other units’ procedures closely enough to maintain fairness and consistency for students, instructors, and administrators across the University.

New ideas regarding academic integrity will continue to be developed. As such, this policy should be treated as a dynamic one that will be modified as the times demand.

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Terminology

Academic integrity is a commitment to the fundamental values of honesty, trust, fairness, respect and responsibility. Academic integrity concerns refer to issues that arise which deserve attention and which may or may not, in the end, involve a departure from academic integrity, that is, a departure from these fundamental values. This involves what has traditionally been referred to as academic dishonesty, but encompasses a much broader context to include educational measures associated with academic integrity. Although academic dishonesty currently occurs in many policies and other documents at Queen’s, generally use of the language of academic integrity is encouraged in the revision or new development of such policies

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Senate Academic Integrity Policy Statement

Academic integrity is constituted by the five core fundamental values of honesty, trust, fairness, respect and responsibility (as articulated by the Centre for Academic Integrity, Clemson University; see www.academicintegrity.org) all of which are central to the building, nurturing and sustaining of an academic community in which all members of the community will thrive. Adherence to the values expressed through academic integrity forms a foundation for the "freedom of inquiry and exchange of ideas" essential to the intellectual life of the University (see Report on Principles and Priorities) Queen's students, faculty, administrators and staff therefore all have ethical responsibilities for supporting and upholding the fundamental values of academic integrity.

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Jurisdiction

  1. Faculty/School offices are required to maintain a record of all cases of which they are informed, for students registered in their Faculty/School. The offices provide advice and assistance to instructors and students as requested, from a designated person who will not subsequently be in a position to pass judgment on the case or who is biased in any way.
  2. Academic integrity concerns within a course shall be dealt with in the first instance by the instructor offering the course. The instructor has the responsibility to take action when they become aware of an academic integrity concern. The instructor also has the responsibility to make a decision as to whether there has been a departure from academic integrity and if there has, making a decision on an appropriate sanction under the guidelines detailed in Section 2.4 of this policy. If the instructor believes the matter is of a particularly serious or complex nature they may refer it to the appropriate representative of the Faculty/School in which the course is offered.
  3. Academic integrity concerns within a course shall be dealt with under the policies and purview of the Faculty/School offering the course.
  4. If a student is enrolled in a course which does not belong to his or her home Faculty/School, instructors and Faculties/Schools are required to follow the procedures as outlined in Appendix B.
  5. If the student is enrolled in a course which does not belong to his or her home Faculty/School, the student’s home Faculty/School shall be kept informed of the proceedings and outcome of the case.
  6. In keeping with Faculty Jurisdiction With Respect To Student Appeals of Academic Decisions, approved by Senate March 3, 2005:
    • The jurisdiction for matters of academic appeal shall, in all instances, reside in the Faculty in which the student is registered.
    • While the jurisdiction for matters of academic appeal shall reside in the Faculty in which the student is registered, the Faculty in which the course(s) in question resides shall be consulted as a normal part of the appeals process to ensure that the interest of the Faculty in which the course(s) resides is taken into consideration.
    • All Faculties and Schools should incorporate the above policy recommendations into their current administrative procedures.
    • For academic-integrity matters, if a student is enrolled in a course which does not belong to his or her home Faculty/School, instructors and Faculties/Schools are required to follow the appeal procedures as outlined in Appendix B of the Senate Policy on Academic Integrity Procedures – Requirements of Faculties & Schools.
  7. Departures from academic integrity other than a course-related issue (e.g., falsifying a transcript) are dealt with by the Faculty/School in which the student is registered.

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Offences

The following list defines the domain of relevant acts without providing an exhaustive list. This list and associated definitions must be included in Faculty and School based academic integrity regulations.

Plagiarism

Presenting another’s ideas or phrasings as one’s own without proper acknowledgement.
Examples: copying and pasting from the internet, a printed source, or other resource without proper acknowledgement; copying from another student; using direct quotations or large sections of paraphrased material in an assignment without appropriate acknowledgement; submitting the same piece of work in more than one course without the permission of the instructor(s).

Use of unauthorized materials

Examples: possessing or using unauthorized study materials or aids during a test; copying from another’s test paper; using an unauthorized calculator or other aids during a test; unauthorized removal of materials from the library, or deliberate concealment of library materials.

Facilitation

Deliberately enabling another’s breach of academic integrity.
Examples: knowingly allowing one’s essay or assignment to be copied by someone else for the purpose of plagiarism; buying or selling of term papers or assignments and submitting them as one’s own for the purpose of plagiarism.

Forgery

Submitting counterfeit documents or statements.
Examples: creating a transcript or other official document; creating a medical note.

Falsification

Misrepresentation of one’s self, one’s work or one’s relation to the University.
Examples: altering transcripts or other official documents relating to student records; impersonating someone in an examination or test; submitting a take-home examination written, in whole or in part, by someone else; fabricating or falsifying laboratory or research data.

Intellectual Property

Use of intellectual property of others for sale or profit or distribution for unfair academic, personal or professional advantage without the authorization of the owner of the material. Example: student uploading course materials to note sharing websites without instructor’s permission; student providing course materials to commercial study prep services that have not been sanctioned by the University.

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Factors to Consider when Assigning a Sanction

Factors that should be considered in assigning a remedy or sanction include:

  1. Evidence of a deliberate attempt to gain advantage;
  2. The seriousness of the departure having regard to its actual or potential consequences;
  3. The extent to which the work or conduct in question forms a significant portion of the final grade and whether the extent of the departure is substantial as demonstrated by the work or conduct in question;
  4. Injury to another student or to the institution;
  5. Multiple departures within a single incident or multiple departures discovered at one time, rather than an isolated aberration;
  6. Whether the departure has been committed by a student who ought to be familiar with the expectations for academic integrity in the discipline, Department and/or Faculty;
  7. Conduct that intimidates others or provoked the misconduct by others.

Any sanction should reflect the extent and severity of the departure from academic integrity, and precedents in the academic unit, taking into account any mitigating circumstances. The onus is on the student to provide evidence of mitigating circumstances.

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Sanctions

The following are the admissible sanctions that may be applied, in any number and/or combination as deemed necessary, for departures from academic integrity:

  • Issuing an oral or written warning.
  • Completion of an educational program/workshop
  • Requiring submission of a revised or new piece of work.
  • Assigning a partial or total loss of marks on the piece of work.
  • Assigning partial or total loss of grades in the course.
  • Requiring withdrawal from the University for a specified period of time.
  • Rescinding of a degree.
  • Making notations on the Internal Academic Record or Official Transcript in keeping with current policies in this regard.

If the penalty amounts to a failure in the course, the student may not drop the course, regardless of the deadlines to drop a course.

  1. Instructors may impose Sanctions 1 through 5, without referring the matter to the Faculty/School.
    If the instructor believes a more serious penalty is warranted, or there is a previous finding, they must refer the matter, including their finding, for sanctioning to the Faculty/School office.
  2. A Faculty/School may impose Sanctions 1 through 5, as available to instructors, as well as:
    Recommending Sanctions 6, 7, or 8 to the Senate Committee on Academic Procedures (SCAP).
  3. Senate (through SCAP, to which it has delegated this responsibility), in accordance with the Senate Policy on Student Appeals, Rights and Discipline, may impose Sanctions 6, 7, and 8.

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Requirements of Faculties/Schools

Each Faculty/School is responsible for developing and implementing procedures to deal with academic integrity concerns and to report annually to SCAP.

Procedural Requirements

To encourage consistency and fairness, Faculties/Schools are required to produce a procedural document that incorporates the principles and key elements outlined below. Faculties/Schools each have characteristics that require specific procedures, which may be incorporated so long as these requirements are met. Section 4.0 of this document provides procedural guidelines that may be helpful as Faculties/Schools seek to incorporate the required elements.

Essential Principles

All procedures, at minimum, must adhere to the principles of natural justice and procedural fairness. The following rules of natural justice must be upheld for the student:

  • The right to know allegations and the basis for them
  • The right to respond to allegations
  • The right to be heard by an unbiased decision maker
  • The right to a timely process
  • The right to a clear decision
  • The right to an appeal

Key Elements

Faculty/School procedures must contain the following key elements:

  • The specification of roles and responsibilities within the Faculty/School for handling academic integrity concerns.
  • A process whereby the student is notified, in sufficient detail, of the allegations against them.
  • The provision of opportunity for the student and the instructor to meet before an outcome is determined, and requirements with respect to the student being notified of the meeting.
  • A process for determining the outcome of the concern, including both the finding and any sanction that may result.
  • The clear indication of timelines throughout the investigation process.
  • An appeal process.

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Forms

Each Faculty/School is required to provide forms for instructors to use in dealing with academic integrity concerns to ensure consistency and clarity. Forms should include one sent to the student giving notice of allegation and investigation as well one that will communicate to the student the outcome of the investigation.

SCAP approval

Faculty/School procedures involving academic integrity concerns must be approved by SCAP.

Publication

Procedures must be published in the respective Faculty/School calendar and be readily available in Faculty/School offices.

Annual Reporting Requirements

Faculties/Schools are required to report each year, in writing, to the Senate Committee on Academic Procedures on the number and types of academic integrity issues or cases they have dealt with in accordance with a SCAP-designed form, along with any suggested revisions to this Policy or their own procedures.

A report should be sent no later than October of each year, to the Secretary of SCAP, reporting on the cases for the previous academic year.

SCAP will report annually to Senate on the number and type of academic integrity issues as well as with any recommendations with regard to policy changes. SCAP will correspond with Faculties/Schools on suggested updates to their procedures.

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Procedural Guidelines

The purpose of this section is to provide guidance to Faculties/Schools in the development of their procedures, incorporating requirements outlined in Section 3.0 of this document. In developing their procedures, Faculties/Schools should use this section as a model or template, while adding the specificity required to transform these guidelines into specific procedures. The diagram in Appendix A illustrates the general steps to be taken in pursuing academic integrity cases.

For students enrolled in a course which does not belong to his or her home Faculty/School, instructors and Faculties/Schools are required to follow the procedures as outlined in Appendix B.

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Instructor Guidelines for Investigation, Decision Making, Referral and Notification

  1. The instructor has the responsibility to initiate the investigation. If at any point the instructor does not feel they are able to proceed as stated in Section 2.1.2, the Faulty/School office offering the course may assume the investigation responsibilities under the guidelines of Section 4.2.
  2. When an instructor has a basis for alleging a departure from academic integrity, he/she shall notify the student, in writing, of his/her allegations. The student must be informed of the basis of the allegation(s), the possible sanctions, and his/her right to respond. The student is informed that he/she cannot withdraw from the course while the investigation is in progress.
  3. An initial meeting should be held between the instructor and student. If the student does not wish to meet with the instructor the student can submit a written response to the allegation. If the student does not respond to an invitation for a meeting, or does make a written submission, the process will continue without the student’s input. If a meeting is arranged, both the student and the instructor have the right to be accompanied by one person for support and/or advice, although the meeting is intended to be exploratory and not a legal proceeding. The instructor and student should discuss the allegation and, if possible, come to a mutually acceptable agreement regarding its outcome.
  4. Following an investigation and the initial meeting with the student concerned, the instructor shall decide whether or not there has been a departure from academic integrity, based on the available evidence. Two options are available to the instructor:
    • A decision that there has been no departure from academic integrity. If this is the case, all documents will be destroyed and the student will be informed of the decision in writing.
    • A decision of a finding that there has been a departure from academic integrity.
  5. If there has been a finding of a departure from academic integrity, the instructor must contact the Faculty/School to notify them of the outcome of the investigation and to determine whether a previous departure from academic integrity has been recorded. If a previous departure from academic integrity has been recorded, the instructor hands the sanctioning process over to the Faculty/School office for completion and notification of the student. If the student has no previous record the instructor can proceed with a sanction under the guidelines of Section 2.4 and notify the student in writing.

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Faculty/School Guidelines for Referred Cases Before Instructor makes a Decision on a Finding

  1. When a case has been referred to a Faculty/School office for reasons outlined in Section 2.1.2, the office will take on responsibility for investigating the matter. All documents previously used to investigate the case will be forwarded to the office. The student must be notified in writing.
  2. A meeting should be held between the Faculty/School representative, the instructor, and the student. If the student does not wish to meet with the Faculty/School representative the student can submit a written response to the allegation. If the student does not respond to an invitation for a meeting, or does not make a written submission, the process will continue without the student’s input. If a meeting is arranged, both the student and the instructor have the right to be accompanied for support and/or advice, although the meeting is intended to be exploratory and not a legal proceeding. Each party will be given the opportunity to make a statement and have their case heard.
  3. Following the investigation and initial meeting, the representative shall make a decision. Two options are available to him/her:
    • A decision that there has been no departure from academic integrity. If this is the case, all documents will be destroyed and the student will be informed of the decision in writing.
    • A decision of a finding that there has been a departure from academic integrity.
  4. If there has been a finding of a departure from academic integrity, the representative will decide on a sanction under the guidelines of Section 2.4. The student shall be notified in writing of the decision in writing.

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Faculty/School Guidelines for Dealing with Referral of a Finding by an Instructor

  1. If the finding appears to warrant a sanction more serious than the instructor may impose or if there is a previous finding of departure from academic integrity on file in the Faculty/School office, the instructor must refer the case to the Faculty/School office. The Faculty/School representative may impose sanctions as outlined in Section 2.4.
  2. In referring a case of departure from academic integrity to the Faculty/School office for sanctioning, the instructor must advise the student in writing.
  3. The Faculty/School representative will convene a meeting with the student, the instructor and witnesses where appropriate, to conduct a thorough investigation of the available evidence. If the student does not wish to meet with the Faculty/School representative the student can submit a written response to the allegation. If the student does not respond to an invitation for a meeting, or does not make a written submission, the process will continue without the student’s input. This investigation may involve written submissions and/or oral evidence presented by witnesses pertaining to the possible departure from academic integrity. The student and the instructor must be notified, in writing, when the meeting on the case will be convened, invited to appear at the meeting, and be advised of the right to have representation at the meeting.
  4. If, after an investigation of the evidence and consideration of the response by the student, the Faculty/School representative determines that there are no grounds for a finding of departure from academic integrity, all documents related to the case will be destroyed and the student will be informed that the investigation has been dropped. If, however, after an investigation of the evidence and consideration of the response by the student, the Faculty/School representative determines that the finding should be upheld, the Faculty/School representative will assess an appropriate sanction or remedy according to the guidelines in Section 2.4.
  5. The Faculty/School representative will inform the student of the decision in writing.

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Appealing a Decision - Faculty/School Board, University Student Appeal Board

Students must have the opportunity to appeal a decision. Appeals will be heard in the Faculty/School where the student is registered, in accordance with the Senate Policy on Faculty Jurisdiction with Respect to Student Appeals of Academic Decisions and Appendix B of this policy.

If the decision made by an instructor is appealed, it will be appealed to the Faculty/School representatives designated for hearing appeals (e.g., an Associate Dean).

If the decision made by the Faculty/School representative is appealed, it will be appealed through a committee established by the Faculty/School.

If the decision made by the committee established by the Faculty/School is appealed, it will be appealed to the University Student Appeal Board (USAB).

The first appeal of an academic-integrity decision shall always be a hearing de novo.

Any subsequent appeal, whether at the Faculty committee level or at the University Student Appeal Board, will take the form of a review of the earlier decision; it will not be a hearing de novo. The grounds of appeal must be based on:

  • a failure to follow the rules or regulations by the relevant decision-making body/person; or
  • a failure to follow the rules of natural justice (see page 6); or
  • a violation of University policies; or
  • a decision made that is not found to be reasonable*.

If, in the course of a subsequent appeal (i.e. any appeal beyond the first), new information relevant to the matter is brought forward, the matter must be referred back to the original decision maker to start anew.

* As stated, “reasonable” in this context means a decision that is grounded in logic. In other words, a reasonable decision is one that is supported by logical inferences from accepted premises and facts. If there is more than one conclusion that may be reasonably drawn from the same premises and facts, the choice of one conclusion over another does not make the decision unreasonable.

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Guidelines for Matters Referred to the Senate Committee on Academic Procedures (SCAP)

The procedures that SCAP will follow are outlined in Section 10 of the Senate Policy on Student Appeals, Rights and Discipline. This includes the requirement that Faculties/Schools must consult with SCAP before deciding what sanctions to recommend to ensure consistency in penalties across the University.

Departures from Academic Integrity Other than Within a Course

Where possible departures from academic integrity other than those within a course are identified, the Faculty/School Office may initiate an investigation. The student must be notified in writing. Further steps are as outlined in Section 4.2 for course-related issues.

Timing Requirements

No specific time limits are being specified for University-wide adoption as policy. However, it is required that all procedures include appropriate time limits. All parties must have sufficient time to prepare cases and make responses. However, procedural fairness dictates that processes move expeditiously.

In drafting procedures it must be recognized that timing that is appropriate during the term may not work near the end of or following the end of a term. Longer time periods must be allowed, such as when an issue arises during the marking of exams in December. Periods of seven, ten and fourteen days are typically appropriate for various aspects with regard to timing. For example, it might be specified that a student has ten days to respond to a notice that an investigation has been initiated.

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Graduation

While an academic-integrity investigation is ongoing, no student may graduate, even if academic credit for the course(s) under investigation is not required to complete a degree.  In cases where an investigation is initiated during the student’s final year of study, or involves a course required to graduate, the Faculty or School will make reasonable attempts to expedite the investigation process before the expected convocation date.

No student who has been required to withdraw due to a departure from academic integrity may apply to graduate during the period of the sanction.

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Appendix A - Handling Departures from Academic Integrity

  1. Appeal may be made to the next level from where a decision was taken. A student appealing an instructor decision to their Faculty/School cannot further appeal the Faculty/School decision.
  2. The precise Faculty/School process varies based on the point of referral from the instructor, so this chart is simplified in that regard).
  3. This is the route of substantive decision making and appeals. Appeals on procedural grounds may be made to USAB.

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Appendix B - Academic-Integrity Procedures with Respect to Cross-Faculty Jurisdiction

Definitions

For the purposes of this appendix,

  • “home Faculty” is defined as the Faculty or School in which a student is registered.
  • “course Faculty” is defined as the Faculty or School in which a course is offered. “Faculty designate” is typically the Faculty or School office administrator
  • “Faculty designate” is typically the Faculty or School office administrator
    responsible for academic-integrity matters, such as an Associate Dean or Director

If a student is enrolled in a course which does not belong to his or her home Faculty, instructors and Faculties/Schools are required to follow the procedures as defined in this appendix for academic-integrity matters concerning undergraduate students (Section I) or graduate students (Section II), respectively.

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Cross-Faculty Jurisdiction with respect to Undergraduate Academic-Integrity Matters

Instructor Procedures for Investigation, Decision-Making, Referral and Notification in Cross-Faculty Matters

  1. Instructors maintain the responsibility for investigation, student notification, and making a decision on a finding as outlined in the course Faculty procedures.
  2. Upon making a finding, the instructor must contact the administrative office of the course Faculty and request guidance on sanctioning. The Faculty designate from this office will contact the student’s home Faculty office to consult on an appropriate sanction for the finding and communicate this information to the instructor. The instructor may then assign a sanction as outlined in the course Faculty regulations. If an instructor recommends a sanction which is outside the range of sanction he or she is permitted, the matter will be referred to the course Faculty designate.
  3. If the instructor refers the matter (as permitted by the course Faculty regulations), the case should proceed to the appropriate designate of the course Faculty (i.e. not the designate of the student’s home Faculty).
  4. The instructor must notify the student in writing of any finding, decision on sanction (including referral of sanction), or referral of the case (see Section 2) with a copy to the administrative office of the course Faculty. This office also has the responsibility for notifying the student’s home Faculty office.

Faculty/School Designate Procedures for Referred Cases

  1. If a case has been referred by the instructor, the course Faculty designate will take on the responsibility for investigating the matter.
  2. If a finding is made, by either the instructor or the Faculty designate, the course Faculty designate will contact the student’s home Faculty office to consult on an appropriate sanction for the finding before a sanction is imposed.
  3. The course Faculty designate must notify the student, instructor, and the student’s home Faculty of the finding and sanction.

Appeals

  1. In matters where the instructor has made the finding and has assigned a sanction under their purview, the first level of appeal shall be to either (a) the student’s home Faculty designate (the designate cannot be the same designate consulted during the initial decision) or (b) to the appropriate Faculty committee within the student’s home Faculty – as specified in the Faculty regulations. The final level of appeal will be to the University Student Appeals Board.
  2. In matters where the case has been referred to the course Faculty designate, the first level of appeal shall be to the appropriate Faculty/School committee within the student’s home Faculty. The final level of appeal will be to the University Student Appeals Board.
  3. During appeal committee hearings, a designate from the course Faculty office may attend for the purpose of providing information only and will not be a member of the committee. The appeal body must notify the student, the student’s home Faculty, and the course Faculty, of any decisions. The course Faculty will communicate these decisions to the instructor.

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Jurisdiction with respect to Graduate Academic-Integrity Matters

All graduate students who are enrolled in the School of Graduate Studies (the home Faculty) follow a particular program in an academic discipline (the home Program). Instructors, supervisors or advisors (collectively referred to as ‘instructors’) are required to follow the procedures below.

Instructor Procedures for Investigation, Decision-Making, Referral and Notification in Matters

  1. Instructors maintain the responsibility for investigation, student notification, and making a decision on a finding as outlined in the School of Graduate Studies procedures.
  2. Upon making a finding, the instructor must contact the School of Graduate Studies. If there is no previous finding on record, the instructor will determine a sanction as outlined in the School of Graduate Studies Academic Integrity Policy and may consult with a representative from the home Program (e.g. Department Head, Graduate Coordinator, or Program Director).
  3. If, instead of imposing a sanction, the instructor refers the matter, the case should initially be referred to the appropriate designate of the home Program (e.g. Department Head, Graduate Coordinator, or Program Director).
  4. If an instructor recommends a sanction which is outside the range of sanctions he or she is permitted, the matter will be referred to an Associate Dean of the School of Graduate Studies.
  5. The instructor must notify the student in writing of any finding, decision on sanction (including referral of sanction), or referral of the case (see Section 2) with a copy to the School of Graduate Studies. The School of Graduate Studies has the responsibility for notifying the student’s home Program.

Procedures for Referred Cases

  1. If a case has been referred by the instructor to the appropriate designate of the home Program, (e.g. Department Head, Graduate Coordinator, or Program Director) that person will take on the responsibility for investigating the matter.
  2. If a case has been referred by the instructor or by the appropriate designate of the home Program, (e.g. Department Head, Graduate Coordinator, or Program Director) to the School of Graduate Studies, an Associate Dean of the School of Graduate Studies will take on the responsibility for investigating the matter.
  3. If a finding is made by an Associate Dean of the School of Graduate Studies, the Associate Dean will contact the student’s home Program to consult on an appropriate sanction for the finding before a sanction is imposed.
  4. The Associate Dean must notify the student, instructor, and the student’s home Program of the finding and sanction.

Appeals

In matters where the instructor, or the appropriate designate of the home Program, (e.g. Department Head, Graduate Coordinator, or Program Director) , or an Associate Dean of the School of Graduate Studies has made a finding and has assigned a sanction, the student has the right to appeal the finding or sanction through the Academic Appeal Board of the School of Graduate Studies. The final level of appeal will be to the University Student Appeals Board.

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